US 3857352 A
A pontoon boat comprising water-tight drums axially aligned in end-to-end abutment and a ring clamp for clamping together the flanged ends of two juxtaposed drums. The ring clamp is provided with three bolts extending radially outwardly in specific angular relationship to secure a horizontal and two vertical structural elements respectively. Each pontoon has a unique bow. Supports for an upper deck extend downwardly and outwardly from the upper deck at an angle of about 5 degrees from vertical.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [191 Schott PONTOON BOAT  Inventor: Lawrence A. Schott, 13930 Stansbury, Detroit, Mich. 48227 1  Filed: Aug. 29, 1973  Appl. No.: 392,675
Related U.S. Application Data  Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 282,963,'Aug. 23,
115/22, 26; 9/1 R, 2 R, 2 S, 11 R; 285/408, 413
[111 3,857,352 [4 1" Dec. 31, 1974 3,109,183 Overmyer 9/11 R 3,179,960 4/1965 Nimmo 9/2 R 3,455,115 7/1969 Watts et a1. l14/.5 F 3,520,563 7/ 1970 Decker 285/408 X [5 7] f ABSTRACT A pontoon boat comprising water-tight drums axially aligned in end-to-end abutment and'a ring clamp for clamping together the flanged ends of two juxtaposed drums. The ring clamp is provided with three bolts extending radially outwardly in specific angular relation- [561 21;;22,?122;;issziz awistszz121'21222:; UNITED STATES PATENTS bow. Supports for an upper deck extend downwardly 1,762,451 6/1930 Murphy 114/61 and outwardly from the upper deck at an angle of Webster et I about 5 degrees from vertical 2,962,996 12/1960 Smith 9/11 R X 3,004,268 10/1961 Haas 9/11 R 3 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures PONTOON BOAT CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Pontoon boats are popular but they are generally somewhat expensive. The use of a plurality of assembled drums, such as the commonly available 55-gallon steel drums, particularly used drums, as pontoons is an attractive and very economical'alternative to the spe cially designed unitary pontoons most often used for a pontoon structure, they present problems in connecting the drums in the form of pontoons and in securing structural elements of the boat to them and particularly, in a manner such that load distribution is well balanced over each drum.
Drum connectors, such as disclosed in US Pat. No. 3,004,268, issued on Oct. 17, 1961 'to W. F. Haas generally comprise'a flat ring clamp for clamping together the flanged ends of two juxtaposed drums. It has been found, however, that the prior art drum connectors or clamps provided only a loose connection between adjacent drums due primarily to the large amount of surface contact between the clamp and the drums and, as. such, the drums often are separated from each other when laterally struck by a rock or other obstruction in the water.
It is therefore a primary object of the present invention to provide a ring clamp for clamping together steel drums for a pontoon boat wherein the clamp securely fastens the drums end to end and axially biases the adjacent drums toward each other.
It is another objective of the present invention to provide for a kit of materials to be purchased by the builder from the manufacturer for easy assembly of a pontoon boat without requiring any metal work or, in fact, any alteration of the readily available second-hand steel drums. Any alteration of the bow drum for each pontoon which may be required can be done by the manufacturer.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION one drum to the next. The ends of the metal band, at.
the segmental opening, are flanged radially outwardly. A bolt passed through the flanges serves to tighten the ring clamp around the flanged ends of two abutting drums.
Each ring clamp is also provided with three radially outwardly extending conical protrusions which receive bolts therethrough for securing structural elements of the boat to the ring clamps and, hence, the drums. The first bolt is positioned at the top of the ring clamp and serves to secure a horizontal structural element, such as floor joist, to the pontoon. The term top as used herein means the top of the ring clamp when it is in its functional position in the boat structure. Similarly, the terms inward", outward, downwardly, forwardly, rearwardly", and the like, are used relative to the boat.
The second bolt, on the inward side of the ring clamp, is spaced from the bolt about 90 radial degrees and serves to secure a vertical structural element, usually a bracket, which extends downwardly from a joist in the floor of the lower deck of the boat. A third bolt is positioned on the outward side of the ring clamp, is spaced from the first bolt about -75 radial degrees, and also serves to secure a vertical structural element, usually a hand rail, upright.
The ring clamp is therefore a very versatile element of the pontoon boat structure. Because of the presence of three spaced conical protrusions and their associated bolts thereon and their function of securing horizontal and vertical structural elements of the boat, no alterations, and particularly no metal work, need be done by the person who assembles the boat. Specifically, the drums require no metal work which might result in defects in the metal and ultimately leaking when the drums are placed in the water.
An additional feature of the invention is providing for the distribution of the load supported by each drum. In the present invention the force of the weight of the boat is directed downwardly .to three conical protrusions in the ring clamp thereby reducing shear force on the three fastening bolts. A portion of the force is directed downwardly on the top conical protrusion toward the center of the ring clamp, a portion is directed downwardly tangentially to the ring clamp on its inward side, and a portion is directed downwardly not quite tangentially to the ring clamp on its outward side. The latter downward force is not quite tangential (but partly directed toward the interior of the ring) for the reason that the third protrusion and its associated third bolt, the outside, of the ring clamp is not spaced radial degrees from the top bolt, but only 70-75 degrees. Downward forces on the three conical protrusions of the ring clamp are then spread over the ring clamp itself and ultimately fairly, evenly over the area of the drum under the ring clamp.
ln explaining why the third, or outside, conical protrusion and bolt of the ring clamp of the invention is spaced less than 90 degrees from the top bolt, another feature of the invention can be pointed out. Where the pontoon boat of the invention is provided with an upper deck, or sun deck, the supporting members of the upper deck are inclined at an angle of about 5 degrees from vertical and supported at their lower ends at points which result in a second downward force on the third, or outside, conical protrusion, which force also is not quite tangential to the drum. The sum of the two not quite tangential forces, however, yields a tangential force vector on the outside side of a drum which is substantially equal to the tangential force on the inward side of the drum. In this manner, forces tending to rotate a drum clockwise substantially balance forces tending to rotate the drum counterclockwise.
The above mentioned degree inclination of the upper deck support for a nine foot support (by way of example) brings the outside edge of the upper deck over a line about 9 inches inside the outer edge of the drums. With such a deck and assuming it is no longer than about half the length of the lower deck, the center of gravity'of the boat is quite low.
DESCRIPTION or THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a pontoon boat embodying the present invention but detailed structures omitted;
FIG. 2 is a side detailed elevation view of the ring clamp and associated structure of the invention;
FIG. 3 is a partial cross-sectional view of the ring clamp at line 33 of ,FIG. 2;
FIG. 4 is an exploded perspective view of an altered drum preferably forming the bow of each pontoon;
FIG. 5 is a view substantially similar to FIG. 3, but
showing the ring clamp in a fully tightened down position, and
FIG. 6 Ban enlarged, partial perspective view showing the fastening and tightening means for the ring clamp.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED I EMBODIMENT 28 is supported by hand rail uprights 30. The lowerdeck floor and the upperdeck floor are supported by suitable joists as at 34, 36. The drum brace bracket 38 extends vertically downwardly from a joist 34.
Each drum is provided with a peripheral flange having a radial extending portion, as at 40, 42, juxtaposed flanges being clamped together with a ring clamp 44 (see FIGS. 3 and 5), as will be more fully described hereinbelow. i
As best seen in FIG. 3, the ring clamp 44 comprises a flat middle section 100 and diverging side flanges 102 and 104 on each side thereof, such that a 50 to 70 degree angle, and preferably a 60 degree angle (as shown) is maintained between each side flange 102 and 104 and the middle section 100 of the ring clamp, 44. The width of the middle section 100 of the ring clamp is somewhat less than twice the axial length of the drum rim 40 or 42 and the width of the side flanges 102 and 104 is somewhat greater than the radial width of the drum rim, such that the inner surfaces 106 and 108 of the side flanges 102 and 104, respectively, upon tightening of the ring clamp engage the outer surfaces 110 and 112 of the drum rims 40 and 42, respectively,
If the ring clamp 44 is over-tightened or, alternatively, if the length of the drum rims .40, 42 is less than standard size, as shown in FIG. 5 the side flanges 102 and 104 axially force the drum rims 40 and 42 toward each other until the edges 114 and 116 of the side I drum, thus permitting the indentations 118 in the drum and the resultant firm gripping action of the ring clamp 44. The free edges 114 and 116 are also preferably pointed radially inward, as shown at 119, to further reduce the surface area contact between edges 114 and l 16 and the drums 2 0and 22 and enhance the gripping action of the ring clamp 44.
Referring more particularly to FIG. 2,the drum joining ring, or ring clamp 44, is split or provided. with an open segmental portion or gap comprising flanges 46, 48 extending radially outwardly. The generally V-shape of the ring clamp 44 is preferably maintained in the flanges 46 and 48 (see FIG. 6) to increase the strength of the flanges 46 and 48. A bolt 50, passed through appropriate apertures in the flanges 46, 48, threadably each other while maintaining the middle section 100 of the ring clamp 44 in a spaced apart parallel relationship to the outer surfaces 109 of the drum rims 40 and 42.
engages a nut 47 for tightening'the ring clamp 44 about the drums,
A bolt 52 is disposed at the top of the ring clamp 44 and is adapted to be received into an aperture in a right angle bracket 53 to secure a horizontal-structural element, for example a joist 34, to drum. Preferably, a conical a conical protrusion 49 extends outwardly from the clamp 44 through the aperture in the bracket 53 so that the shear force between the bracket 53 and the ring 44 is applied to the engaged surfaces of the periphery of the conical protrusion 49 and of the aperture in the bracket rather than to the body of the bolt 52.
A bolt 54, spaced about 90 radial degrees from the top bolt 52, serves to secure a vertical structural ele-,
ment, the drum brace bracket 38, to the inward side of ing aperture in the bracket 38 for avoiding the load shear force from being applied to the bolt 54 A boIt 56, disposed about -75 radial degrees from the top bolt 52, serves to secure a vertical structural element, one of the hand rail uprights 26, to the outward side of a drum. A bump rail 58 is also secured to a row of hand rail uprights 26 of the pontoon as by bolt 56. A third conical protrusion 57, like the conical protrusions 49 and 55, eliminates the application of shear force to the bolt 56. i
Supports 60, preferably inclined about 5 degrees from vertical, support the outside edge of the upper deck 18 and each such support 60, at the bottom thereof, is secured near the bottom of a hand rail upright 26, as by bolt 62.
Referring more particularly to FIG. 4, a drum 21 forming the bow of pontoon 12 is shown as having been cut along the inclined edge 64, that is, along a plane extending downwardly and rearwardly. The forwardly convex, scoop-shaped face 24 having edges 66, 68 is positioned against the open end of drum 21 and the two pieces are welded together as, for example, along edges 64, 66. A top cover plate 25, having edges 70, 72 is then welded todrum 21 and face 24 to weld, for example,
edge 64 to edge 72 and edge 68 to edge 70.
It will be apparent to one skilled in the art to which the invention pertains that various changes and modifications may be made therein. without departing from the spirit of the invention or the scope of the appended claims I claim:
1. A pontoon boat comprising:
a pair of substantially parallel pontoons each made of a plurality of water-tight drums axially aligned in end-to-end alignment, each of said drums having a peripheral flange with a radial extending portion at each end thereof;
a ring clamp for clamping together the two juxtaposed flanges of two abutting drums, said ring clamp having side flanges disposed at a diverging angle for forcing said peripheral flanges of said abutting drums axially toward each other; and
a superstructure attached to said ring clamp;
wherein said ring clamp comprises:
a middle substantially flat portion in a spaced apart parallel relationship from said juxtaposed flanges of abutting drums, said side flanges extending inwardly from each side of said middle portion of said ring clamp and intersecting said middle portion at an angle of between 50 and 70 radial degrees;
a segmental opening provided with outwardly eX- tending radial flanges and a bolt threadedly engaged with said radial flanges in a manner such that turning of said bolt respectively tightens and loosens said ring clamp;
a first means positioned on the top of said ring clamp for securing a horizontally extending structural element thereto for supporting said superstructure, a second means positioned on the inward side of said ring clamp, displaced about 90 radial degrees from said first means and adapted to secure a first vertically extending structural element'thereto for supporting said superstructure, and a third means positioned on the outward side of said ring clamp, displaced about to radial degrees from said first means and adapted to secure a second vertically extending structural element thereto for supporting said superstructure, wherein said first, second, and third means comprise an outwardly extending conical protrusion on said ring clamp extending.
through a receiving aperture in said respective structural element and an axially aligned aperture through said conical protrusion adapted to receive a bolt therethrough. 2. The boat according to claim 1 further comprising a bow for each of said pontoons comprising an open drum portion made from a drum cut on a transverse plane at an angle to the axis of said drum; a forwardly convex, generally scoop-shaped front cover plate secured to the open end of said drum portion and partially covering the open end of said drum portion; and a top cover plate covering the balance of said open end.